Elma Washington surrounded with a lush evergreen backdrop of Capitol Forest along the Black Hills of Grays Harbor County.
Its beauty unchangeably stretches all the way to the Olympic Peninsula with wildlife, lakes, creeks, and rivers almost everywhere.
Nestled in for easy access to comfortable leisure anywhere in West Coast Washington & the town we call home.If you were to stroll down the streets of Elma somewhere around 1889, you would see some of the buildings that are still standing today. You don't have to search long for a place to stay either. Compare hotels
In my research on the History of Elma Washington and East Grays Harbor County throughout the years, I have made and heard some interesting observations.
Some of the credit for information here on this page goes to the generosity of the Timberland Library in Elma.
The library donated the book entitled A History of Elma by Elizabeth (Liz) Brown for Friends of the Elma Library, in appreciation of my writing three volumes of the Elma Washington Visitor Guide.
Many pictures I came across were probably taken just because, or for some unknown reason like this one.
Others were more interesting as if taken from specific points in town for specific reasons.
Let's take you on a tour through the days of old! The days we long for Now And Then.
As years went by, photographers of the past would step out into the streets, not for a shoot out, but for a snapshot of the latest changes made to the City of Elma Washington.
The obscure glances of the past became clearer, as some of the elderly folks spoke of their recollections of buildings (my favorite), and what businesses were there at that time, in the history of Elma Washington Now And Then.
The historical photo of Elma Washington (above) was taken from around 6th and Main Street looking east. The large building on the right was known as the Imperial Hotel.
Built in the 1880's, this grand structure of its time, at least for Elma Washington, might have changed hands.
I'm a little foggy here, but I think the Imperial Hotel might have been the Wakefield Hotel at one time. I know there was a Wakefield Hotel, I'm just not sure yet exactly where it was located.
Also, I often wonder if this hotel was built by the Knights of the Pythias. There's a familiar emblem on the peak that makes me wonder.
The building was located on the southwest corner of 4th and Main Street.
It eventually caught fire, in the 1940's, and was then dismantled. I was mesmerized at first, by the style of the structure compared to most of the others in town.
This one building somehow takes on its own atmosphere. Then I noticed how the ground around the light poles appeared fresh and the sidewalks looked new..., almost out of place for the time.
A little more research found that electrical power became part of Elma's infrastructure about that time.
Also, in 1889, the City of Elma Washington Ordinance states that the main street be graded to make way for the sidewalk project.
It's very clear the sidewalks are not wooden anymore, and the light poles are a possible testament to why the photo of Elma Washington was taken at the time.
Was this Elma Washington's first revitalization (beautification) project? I'll keep my sleuth on!
This next photo of Elma Washington was taken back in 1912 from Strawberry hill around 6th Street North, looking south toward the Chehalis River and Highway 12.
If you click on this picture of Elma, it will open a PDF file in a new window and A LOT BIGGER. But you might need a land mark to know what you're looking at when you view it.
You will notice the tall square building with a lot of windows (left center). That building is the Eagles Opera House.
The Opera House was located on North 3rd Street between Young and Anderson Streets on the west side, and was once the VFW/American Legion Hall. It's now converted to New Life Ministry.
To the right and up a little you can see the Imperial Hotel. Further right you'll see the (not so good) joining of the photo tare, with the Elma High School just to the right of that tare.
The High School was just completed that year in 1912.
From there you may be able to spot something you remember or know about.
You may be wondering what this pan shot might look like today.
I've actually tried to duplicate the position the photo was taken at. I think there's a house or two in the way, so I had to compromise a few streets east to 3rd Street.
Not to mention all the trees kept me from getting the full pan shot of Elma Washington from left to right.
This isn't the greatest photo ever taken, and you won't get a better closeup by clicking on the picture.
But you can easily see the difference between the History Of Elma Washington, Now and Then.
Don't you love the old cars in this photo?
Me too. It helped me narrow down to the date. I believe the car (oval windows) is a 1917 Buick.
Thanks to Walter Callesen, this building is the old Knights of Pythias building located at 3rd and Young Street in Elma.
So, what's so important about it? Well, first of all I am envious that it isn't still standing today because this is where my company, Image Flowers and Chocolates Made Easy resides.
This is where we make flower arrangements as a full service florist, Fine-Line chocolates and chocolate flavored candies made by LB's (me).
You've gotta try some of these!
Walter Callesen told me that the Knights of Pythias building burned in the 1940's. The lot was leveled, and I believe he said it was a park for a short time.
In 1952, the current building was built for the post office, and Montgomery Wards.
Of course, it changed hands many times before we purchased it from a non-profit group called the "Odd Fellows Organization" around the year 2000.
See the building-top just above the car on the right? That is the Eagles Opera House and I've heard tell it was a theater as well. I'll talk more about it further down.
I like this photo, not because there's a cattle run going on (okay I love that too).
No, It's the building to the right of the Pythias building. It's the old post office and that building is still there today in May 2013.
The Eagles Opera House is not in this picture of Elma. Otherwise you'd be able to see the top of it just above the old Elma WA Post Office.
Here's another angle on 3rd Street and across from Image Flowers & Fine Chocolates shop.
It's the old bank (First National maybe). The Elma Chronicle newspaper was one of the buildings as well as a garage/service station and some others I'm yet to discover.
The partial building you can see on the far left is the Elma Hotel & Cafe at the corner of 3rd and Young Street.
It is unknown when these buildings were built or taken down, but I could speculate they were built around the 1880's.
This historical picture is the old building right next to mine at 117 North 3rd.
Back then the Pythias building was separate. Now we share a common wall with the old meat shop building.
There are three total businesses (at the time) in this building.
Meadowcroft Feed, A Meat company and a Cafe (left) back in Elma Washington around 1927.
In my days, I remember the Cafe on the left was Arnie's Tavern while the rest of this building remained a meat and cold storage.
Do you like these old photos of Elma Washington and the surrounding area?
Have your own memories on the History Of Elma Washington Now and Then? Do tell!... Remember, the information here is not in stone.
Correct me if you know a different version..., all is welcome! Post Your Recollections of Elma or East Grays Harbor County here, and upload photos if you have them too!
Speaking of the Elma Cafe and Hotel, this three-story building sat diagonally from our business on the corner of 3rd and Young Street.If you landed on this page looking for a hotel, here's a link that will tell you what is available in the Elma and surrounding Grays Harbor area Hotels in Elma
I can only speculate on when the Elma hotel was built. I understand that fire took place at one point and later demolished.
How about you? Do you know anything about the Elma Washington hotel and cafe?
Visitors who visit the History of Elma Washington would appreciate anything you may know about any of these photos. I would love to hear your history of Elma Washington!
It's easy to do! Post Your Adventures of Elma (click "back" button to return here) or pictures of Elma Washington area (or both), so others can enjoy them too.
Interestingly enough, the old Eagles Opera House was just a half block away and probably one of the tallest buildings in Elma.
It is under construction here in this photo in 1928. It was later demolished by fire (year unknown).
If you know Elma Washington, then you know it was replaced by the VFW (Veterans of Foriegn Wars) Hall. The American Legion Hall took over the building and and recently converted into a church.
I understand that this was also Elma's Theater for a time and had some fairly big bands entertain there.
The little building next to the Eagles Opera House is still standing as of 2011 and serves as an optometrist's office.
Okay, I just had to include this photo of the Elma Jail.
The exact location is a mystery but I think it's wonderful that someone took the time to snap this photo.
I find it interesting and wonder if
anyone ever escaped out the top door.
Perhaps there was a jailbreak and this picture was taken for evidence.
Oops, did I just tamper with the evidence? :-)
There are tales of a large flagpole in the middle of Main Street during the early days of Elma Washington.
I have never actually seen any photos of the flagpole until this one.
Finally, I have a picture of it in the middle of Main Street just outside Elma City Hall, (or Elma Town Hall).
In this picture of Elma Washington, the City Hall building is the tallest, with the bell tower on it, and flagpole nearly twice its height.
Exactly in what year the flagpole was removed is a mystery. In the previous years, Main Street actually ended at the flagpole, and then made a bend over to Young Street.
In its day, there was only one viaduct that could take you over the railroad tracks, and access was on Young Street. I grew up knowing it as the "old viaduct," while the Main Street viaduct had been constructed long before in 1939.
In this flagpole photo, a close look just beyond First Street (side street showing) show newly planted trees and/or shrubs. The sidewalks on the right are fresh & new while the left side looks old.
It looks as if this could have been the time when Main Street opened around the flagpole (as it looks here), and the Main Street extended though.
But did Main Street stop (around "B Street"" and still go over to Young Street, or was Main Streets new viaduct under construction?
If you know, or have pictures, You are allowed to say it and upload pictures here!
So, what would the History Of Elma Washington Now and Then be without the railroad and trains!
Before the turn of the century, Steam trains like this one carried timber logs to the nearest mill in the area.
It's amazing how large trees were during that time.
I believe this old steam train was of the late 1800's in Elma. Click on this to open the PDF file in a new window.
Grays Harbor and Puget Sound Railroad owned the first train into Elma Washington.
In 1892, the Northern Pacific tracks came into Elma and took over the Grays Harbor and Puget Sound Railroad, moving the depot from its first location just behind where Oakhurst infirmary once stood, to its present site where it remains today over on 2nd and Railroad Street.
The building of railroad lines by Northern Pacific Railway resulted in six trains per day through the city by 1909.
Construction of the railroad gave employment opportunities and an economic benefit to the growing community, as well as vast improvement in mail service in and out of town.
Believe it or not, the US Mail was brought in by train and this ole boy, Frank Dodge, would deliver the mail to the town folks.
It's not known if he actually pushed the mail cart to town, or if mail was transferred from it to a vehicle.
This photo was snapped in September 1927 in Elma Washington.
Oh the good ole days! Friendly people of Elma Washington eagerly awaited Mr. Dodge's arrival to converse in daily chat as he made his rounds.
The super store of its day, the Minard and Company offered everything..., even the kitchen sink!
I wonder if they had chocolate candy making going on!
From groceries to furniture to hardware, there was always a special deal going on at the corner of 4th and Main in Elma Washington.
When I was a kid, I mean "a little kid," I remember mom going to a grocery store in Elma Washington, & I would get (now and then) a candy bar called "SevenUp"
It was like a box of chocolates in one bar and exactly the reason I created my LB's Creative Candies line. I wonder if Minard's was the store that carried that wonderful SevenUp Assorted Chocolates bar.
Some of the ads in the Elma Chronicle showing stoves, butter churns, linoleum, and just about anything else you can image on sale.
It's amazing how well the focus was applied to necessity then. Hey, most all of the items sold were sturdy..., American Made too!
We could sure use that old concept again.
Here's a great picture of an old Minard and Company truck with Edward Lester Minard standing on the sideboard.
According to the Delta Upsilon decennial catalogue 1903 By Delta Upsilon, Delta Upsilon Fraternity, Minard was a lawyer and merchant in Elma Washington who later became mayor in 1899-1900.
E. L. Minard was born in Rockford Illinois 1861. His building is still standing, but renovations over the years took the original storefront appeal. It's still a great building though.
When my wife and I started Image Flowers in 1997, my dad built me a scaled version of a vehicle just like this.
It's amazing how dad used little trinkets to make the dashboard items, headlights and such.
We still have it in our cabinet along with other old memorabilia.
Diagonally across Main and 4th Street is the Le Roy Building, built in 1914. It was a heavy snow year! I especially love this photo of Elma Washington because of the old car that looks like a limousine.
Parked just outside the building of Pennant Auto Company and Brewers Pharmacy, this great looking vehicle might have had something to do with the Pennant Auto sales department of its time.
However, I vaguely recall that someone mentioned that it was a school bus. Could have been my dad who said that. Dad was a top rated mechanic and welder.
There wasn't much he couldn't do or fix.
I recall that there was, or may have been, a theater between the two businesses. So, it's possible the vehicle could have something to do with that as well.
This particular vehicle looks a lot like a 1931 Ford Model A, or a 1932 Ford model B school bus. I see similar vehicles used as limousines these days, but I'm not quite sure which came first, the school bus or the limousine.
Another interesting note is that this vehicle has 9 windows. The others I mentioned only have 4-6 windows. I'm stumped!
I could easily be wrong though. At times like this, I really miss having my dad around. He could easily tell me all about the make and model..., and most likely, to whom it belonged.
Feel like adding to it, or telling Your Adventures of Elma? (click "back" button to return here) You're only a click away, Share! It's easy and non-invasive.
Up until 2012, Brewers Pharmacy is the remaining commercial icon of the block. It has since become a liquor store, while Brewer's Pharmacy combined their efforts with Elma Pharmacy.
This building still exists too. However, modifications changed the old day appeal as well.
Don't get me wrong, these changes are good changes and necessary for the times today. Pictures and the history of Elma Washington allows us the opportunity to see how things use to be in the old days!
Every now and then, someone interested in the history of Elma Washington will mention that there use to be a drive in grocery store.
Well, here it is! This market was located on 4th and Young Street as a convenience market.
I know, now days, you can just have Schwan's deliver to your door step! Right!
But this is too fun! Simply drive on in, pick up your groceries, and away you go!
Gives a completely new meaning to "clean up on aisles-5."
Seriously though, this building is still standing and houses the Eagles Club #1440 and the Elma-Eagles-Riders-Group-1440 over here on Facebook for a little adult fun in grays harbor.
The fast photo of the day!
The company in this particular building was Nelson Photography and I believe his name was H.G. Nelson. Click here to write more if you know or you can add a simple link.
This building is located on Main Street of Elma, just between the Imperial Hotel (not shown here) and a garage (Building on right).
The garage is Willy-Knight Overland.
I believe this is also the E.W. Ball Motor Company, but I might be wrong about the name. Here's a little clearer picture.
I remember when it was called the Motor Inn apartments back in the 80's.
The Blacksmith building located on the north side of the old Catholic Church (church steeple showing behind), on 5th and Waldrip Street in the 1920's.
A new Catholic Church (current) was built later in the 1930's with no indication of the Blacksmith shop existence in that area. Click here to add information
The Elma Steam Laundry started by M. F. Rentiro.
It was on South 5th Street, according to A History of Elma by Elizabeth (Liz) Brown for Friends of the Elma Library.
...boasting first class services with the latest in machinery for steam laundering.
Whiteside funeral home in Elma Washington was built in 1898. Up until the year 2000, this building stood on the corner of 4th and Young Street, adjacent to the nearby home (still standing today 2013).
In the early 1900s, Whiteside Undertaking Company began adding its services to the East Grays Harbor area including here in its Elma Washington location.
At the corner of 3rd Street, (southeast side of Main Street) is the old and very large Odd Fellows building.
This building was build around the 1890's (possibly earlier) and served as the non-profit group none as the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF).
I don't have information on the building to the left, but it may have burned down when the IOOF building burnt (1960's ?). Do you know? Say it here!
On the other side of the IOOF is a building that is still standing. Here's a close-up shot of that same building.
It's not clear what this building was originally. In the 60's this was the Elma Variety Store on the ground level floor.
It is located at the southwest corner of 3rd and Main Streets in Elma Washington, and still remains there today.
In recent days this was Saginaw Restaurant, whose owner had a sign that said "The Bank At Saginaw." Do you know why or more about this building?
This building has several rooms for living on the upper floor (even today), so it doesn't make sense that it was a bank.
Could this be the mysterious Wakefield Hotel? The high hanging lights on the building sure make me think so. "We'll Leave The Light On"
I would love to know more about this building.
The Elma Washington High School construction was completed in late 1911 and occupied in early 1912.
The school originally housed all grades until a few years later became the home of upper grades. There's a later photo, 1925 or so, here.
If you were to drive south down 3rd Street in Elma Washington, You would seamlessly enter onto Wakefield that leads out across the Chehalis River and onto South Bank Road.
A few miles out on South Bank Road, you come to Delezenne Road.
In my early years, my family lived out on the Delezenne, close to the old logging town of Wickswood and Camp Delezenne.Top Of Page
Our closest neighbors lived about 3/4 mile in either direction. Lots of romping room for an outback family of eight children.
When I was ten years old, my parents moved us to a neighboring city about an hour away. All concrete with houses everywhere. I couldn't wait until I was old enough to move back to Elma Washington.
My dreams of the lush green forest that surrounded the homestead, the underground streams, fishing Delezenne Creek, the respectable neighbors, playing tag in the vine maples, and that old dirt hill, stayed with me for some twelve years until I was able to move back to the area of Elma.
It's good to be back in the realm of my childhood, but the old house burned down and housing developments took over Delezenne Road. It has taken years to get back the feel of the old days of Elma.
Believe it or not, I really miss the consequences of mischief. How the neighbor would give you a good swat on the butt for it, and then mom or dad would follow up when you were promptly directed home.
I have since aspired to hold onto any history of Elma Washington I could get my hands on.
But not just of the city of Elma Washington.
The surrounding area too. Old towns and buildings that were a big part of the communities growth inspires remembrance of how folks in the area worked together to build East Grays Harbor County.
Old logging roads are still there along with new roads to explore, with vast wildlife churning everywhere.
Remnants of old logging camps like the Saginaw Timber Company with Minot showing in the background are rarely observed.
So it's nice to get a hold of some old historical pictures and History of Elma Washington Now and Then.
You've most likely clicked on the earlier picture of Saginaw Timber Company on the Delezenne Road (digital image is very large).
Brooklyn Washington is actually just over the Grays Harbor County line inside Pacific County about 10-12 miles from Raymond Washington and about the same distance from Oakville Washington at the South East end of Grays Harbor County.
Saginaw Timber Company became such a large part of the community of East Grays Harbor County, beginning in Aberdeen area in the early 1900s (incorporating 1908), building a forty mile logging railroad, and later expanding into Montesano around 1920 and into Elma Washington.
Back onto South Bank Road, approximately 3 miles further, you will seamlessly come to the Porter Creek Road.
If you stay right, South Bank Road continues into Cedarville area where the long standing Sharon Grange still stands. South Bank Road will also continue through the Chehalis Valley farm lands, all the way to Oakville, Washington.
Do you know about thie area of Cedarville or Oakville, please share your knowledge here.
Going back to Porter Creek Road will lead you to another bridge over the Chehalis River and into a little town called Porter Washington.
My wife and I bought a home out in the countryside of Porter Washington.
Thanks to Margaret Haapanen's and her diligence throughout the years, preserving Porter Washington history, I can now share copied photos with you.
Click on them to see a large PDF version.
Thanks to Marlene Payne, and Judy Harper (rustling around her attic), these pictures of Porter Washington made it to the History of Elma Washington and East County Area Tour.
Porter was once a fast growing community.
It had it's own skating rink, hotel, candy factory (my favorite), stores, mills and more.
I wonder what kind of chocolate confections they made. Were they like these?
Porter was once a fast growing community.
It had it's own skating rink, hotel, candy factory (my favorite), stores, mills and more.
Today, I had a this picture in my hand and a gentleman asked me what I had.
I showed him and he deciphered the photo, telling me what was where and told me about the bridge pilings that still linger across Porter Creek and even where he lived. What are the odds of that happening?
This is a photo of Porter Washington from Butler Mill Road.
Although it is not a great photo, Butler Mill Road is on the south side of Porter Creek looking west toward Elma WA and the Bluff from Abraham Boyer's farm In Early 1900 according to notes on the photo.
The road here almost looks like railroad tracks. It could be both road and rail track.
If that is true, then that would explain the tracks at Emerson and Butler Mill.
This picture is pretty much the same except that there are hand written notes about what the buildings were and some notes about who owned them.
Porter was well on its way to becoming an enterprising town even in 1890.
Elma Chronicle has articles of the postmaster Michael B. Shambley from Ireland, who was very business minded.
M. B. Shambley built stores, and was involved in Porter's progress. Shambley was the postmaster 1890 to 1891 and again from 1900 to 1906.
The Montesano Vidette 1883 article; Baker and Brother are preparing for their steam mill.
It is near the mouth of Porter Creek, about where the ferry will cross the Chehalis River.
This picture will open in a new window (PDF file). I'm a little confused as to this picture of Emerson and Butler Mill showing the railroad tracks.
I don't recall rail tracks going up Butler Mill Road, so I wonder if this mill was the same mill as Baker and Brother Steam Mill.
If you know, please go here and share!
Around that time the Porter Ferry opened for business.
The ferry had made the Montesano Vidette News in August 1883.
The porter ferry must helped connect the town of Porter with South Elma Washington too.
This crossing is where the Porter Bridge is located today.
Is that a watering tank for the steam engines Just above the ferry?
Porter railway was laid around the bluff somewhere around 1890.
According to notes on some of the photos, the railroad was laid "on the site of the old Puncheon Road that the pioneers built with planks.
That's why the old road went up Bull Run and came off the bluff by the churches."
You will notice the Porter bridge is in this photo. I'll talk about the bridge further down.
Here's the Porter Railroad Crew. From what I gather, the building they are in front of, must have been a tender station.
The Porter Depot was located inside Ira J. Lemmon's Store along with the Post office (Elma Chronicle January 17, 1924).
It appears, the location of the building in this picture can be seen on the larger picture of the town.
It's in the lower right corner between the tracks on this picture of Porter Washington. It will be hard to see because it's in the dark area of the picture.
None of these workers were identified (writing on the photo).
According to notes on this picture of Porter Washington, Elma Chronicle April 7, 1905, Bridge at Porter ordered by county commissioners.
Notes on this photo also say an Elma Chronicle Article in February 25, 1905 M. B. Shambley was in Elma this week. Says the new wagon road over the hill will make it possible for direct wagon communication between Elma and Porter.
As years progressed, the Porter Bluff had to be cleared in order to build a more accessible road to and from Elma Washington.
A note on it says Clearing rocks from Porter Bluff when the built road through Porter Washington.
I'm not sure what year this took place and I'm not really sure if this was done for Highway 12 (State Route 12 South).
Depending on when this was taken, it could have even been the start of a road that would allow a better passage rather than going over the bluff.
If you know, Please go here and share!
Boyer Hotel Porter Washington copied from the Boyer Book.
This photo is looking west, from Main Street, toward the bluff around 1900.
In those days Main Street existed from the railroad tracks, up the slight hill straight back to what is now a dead end street.
Now, After Highway 12 South came through from Elma Washington, Porter Creek Road begins at the highway. This is the site of the old railroad siding where the trains would deliver supplies.
You would know this as "Pyramid Flour" signs you can see in this Photo. This "Railroad Siding" is also where Highway 12 runs through now.
This picture of Porter Washington was taken sometime before 1924. Actual year not known.
I believe it's Lemmon's Store (front) then Heckson Malone Candy Factory, then Boyer's lot (house?) of which, I believe is a meat market.
The notes on one of the pictures of the entire town, mentions short notes from the Elma Chronicle; Shambley has workman erecting a new meat market near his hotel. The Mills Bros. are doing the job December 24 1910 almost complete, will open soon.
Then Boarding House, and The Boyer Hotel can be seen at the far end on the left.
This photo of Porter WA is the Boyer Hotel that was built by Abraham Boyer.
The year is not clear, but, according to notes on the picture, he came to Porter in 1886 and the hotel was going strong in 1901.
The Boyer family operated the hotel for many years until M.B. Shambley took possession in 1908.
According to the notes about Elma Chronicle articles, Shambley's operated it until July 3, 1917 when the old Porter Hotel taken over by Inernational Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF). Dedicated October 23, 1917.
I remember spending second grade in this school. I was there around 1967 when the Elma Washington levy didn't pass. A well liked year for me.
You might have notice in the larger photos of the town, there is a large building that looks like a church.
Well, that's because it was the Methodist Episcopal at one time. But it was also the "old school" according to the notes on the photo.
Notes indicate that round 1908, the "old school" was sold to Woodman "Woodman Hall." (New School built then).
Although this photo was in 1955, this is that "new school" built around 1908.
Hard time can befall any community and any time. Porter Washington was no exception.
Other notes about the Elma Chronicle (on photos) mention April 13, 1921 W. H. Ray Store Robbed.
You can see Ray's Store on the south side of Main Street. it has a large lot between it and the Pyramid Flour sign in the large town photos you can see in this Photo
Click on the Elma Washington Chronicle headline and it will open in a new window. It says it all.
I can only imagine the loss those families met.
About three years later, it looked as if Porter would make a comeback from the fire.
Cash Grocery was opened for business.
This building was built around 1925 according to the notes on the photo.
If this store looks familiar, that's because it is the porter tavern we know today.
The tavern has been completely renovated with a new look but still has a somewhat original style face. Of course with neon lights.
There's a longer story attached to the photo, which talks about the people in the picture and who is sold to over time.
The tavern wasn't the only place left standing from the fire of 1924 in Porter.
The Porter church was in need of repairs. I snapped this picture was taken in 2010.
It shows the siding removed as restoration was taking place.
Porter Church is still standing strong with its own renovations. I photographed the following pictures not too long after the new coat of paint dried.
What a fantastic job they did.
It's amazing to see the history unfold as you walk into this wonderful little church.
It was an honor to witness the 2010, 100-year-old anniversary of the Porter Sunday School's Church Bell and its history.
I just love hearing the stories that go along with its history and even how it is tied to Elma Washington.
Each time we go to the church, I get a strong sensation of another time.
The old pews, names written on the old wood, and even photos of families that show porter church genealogy.
The Sunday School has its own history of ownership, but like the main church, it is well taken care of by the Beerbower family.
The history of Porter Washington is like most towns in the in Grays Harbor Washington. The settlers, logging, and communities worked together for the common good of family and structure.
Porter Once had its own zip code and was a bustling little town. I'm not sure exactly what year Porter Washington became listed with the same zip code as Elma Washington.
Porter is about 7 miles from my old homestead and about the same distance from the City of Elma Washington, with plenty of unassuming beauty along the way.
We love the old Porter church that serves as Sunday school for the kids and the good folks woven into it's history. It's a wonderful family church we've come to love and admire as families share their faith together.
I just love being a part of this fabulous piece of history.
For us, the gravel roads of the old homestead in Elma Washington along with the backdrop of Minot and Camp Delezenne have changed to a paved road leading to Porter Creek Campground with logging spurs & roads to remnants of Camp Wedekind in the Black Hills of Capitol Forest.
It's beautiful here, and the families are kind as I remember. Of course, it's not the same as my memories of my family's old homestead out on the Delezenne, but it's really close.
The deer visit each day and there's a lot of ground in between homes.
My children can grow up (at least for now) loving the quiet crisp nights and lush green days of summer with Porter Creek as the substitute for Delezenne Creek.
I hope to hear my children's version of the history of Elma Washington, and their adventures (when they're brave enough to tell about the time when...).
It feels like home use too, because it's the same territory my ancestors lived on years ago, whose offspring still reside.
History of Elma Washington will always be my heritage! The kids are well on their way to exploring anything and everything from frog ponds, forts in the trees, and yes, even some mischief.
Malone, Washington is just down the road a few miles.
Even though the days are long past, Malone still holds on to signs of the Vance Lumber Company mill town.
Malone, WA later became Mumby Lumber and Shingle Company.
Mumby Lumber and Shingle was started in Bordeaux, Thurston County somewhere around 1900-1906 by the Bordeaux family.
As you can see, the early days of the Malone mill must have been a lot of work.
The first mill, a shingle mill, in Malone was constructed around 1895 by a man named Hector J. Malone
As forests were harvested, stumps were removed, and the ground was graded for the mills construction.
Nowadays it's a residential community with the old landmark store, the first "Village Postal" receptacle and community church.
It holds a lot of history in the building structures as well as the land around it.
By the late 1890s, Joseph Vance constructed the Vance Lumber Company.
Slowly but surely, building by building, Malone Washington began to show signs of a sturdy town with an independent economy.
At one time, Malone was considered a larger community than Elma Washington itself.
Of course, that statement is just hearsay from elders in the community of Elma, and East Grays Harbor County.
But, that's what I like about these stories the most.
To me, the stories are undocumented family stories of the unseen.
The forgotten facts of real life, told by real folks who lived the times of growth in the communities of Grays Harbor County.
Here's one of those times that just happen to get to the newspapers. It's real and it's about my family and the settlement of the Elma Area.
Centralia Chronicle dated 7/13/1958:
A family reunion reveals that James Knox Bailey (my great grandfather) and David Byles blazed the first route for a trail from Elma to North river and later built the trail with help of neighbors and friends. Mr. Bailey located two other routes, one on Workman Creek from Elma and one to Willapa then later helped to build the roads. The Bailey's were early pioneers of Washington moving to Elma on March 20, 1883.
Month by month, more structures sprung up as the timber boom of the 1800s gained momentum in Western Washington.
The old stories of the past come alive as folks pass on their recollections of their days in this community.
Most of them interesting topics as well as others that are backed up with factual biographies of their families.
I just regret not having a tape recorder going while the stories were told to me.
I remember my dad talking about how his parents moved to Malone. I'm not sure if either of them ever worked in the mill though.
Dad talked about his mother and how she helped support the family by driving a logging truck.
She was such a tiny woman, at a height of about 4-feet 9-inches, that they had to install wooden blocks on the throttle, clutch, and brake pedals so that she could reach them.
I sometimes wondered how she handled the binders and chains for her loads.
Eventually in Malone, rail lines traced the town throughout as this growing community built its way into the 1900s.
It has been said that in the days the Malone mill was in operation, "housing was provided by the company."
However, "only if you were employed by the mill and it was preferred that shopping and supplies be obtained at the mill owned store" in Malone.
There are so many sites around this area! Writing about them to pass on to you is a pleasure.
Visitors to www.chocolates-made-easy.com would love to hear your stories and see pictures of the Elma Washington area from your photo albums.
Your story will become its own page! So go ahead..., at the end of this page, tell your story and upload your photos (click "back" button to return here).
A curious northeast glance from the bridge on Highway 12 (by the bluff) reveals the depths of the old logging dam (Approx. 1910). Logs floating in the pond must have made way to at least one or two log rolling matches in its day. I can't imagine, all work and no play!
It's not clear if Joseph Vance remained with the mill after Mumby Lumber and Shingle Company out of Thurston County purchased Vance Lumber in the 1920s.
Either way, the owners struggled to keep the mill open during the depression.
A story I heard from a long time resident makes me wonder if Vance remained one of the owners.
He said he actually worked in the mill and mentioned that "times were hard then, but he (Joseph Vance) found a way to keep his sense of kindness throughout his ordeals..., being a considerate man, Mr. Vance divvied up the work schedule so that all employees could work a couple days per week to keep their jobs."
This upper photo, taken from the Elma side of Malone, and atop the Malone hill looking south toward Oakville, Washington.
It's easy to see the mill was still in its growth stage, as some of the buildings such as the church are not present
Thanks to the thoughtfulness of local folks, the old photos of this once bustling mill town manifest the hard work of our ancestors.
The bottom picture of Malone is a look from atop the bluff looking northwest toward Elma Washington.
You can see Highway 12 as it winds down into Malone from Elma Washington (Approx. 1910) with Mox Chehalis Road running along the base of Malone Hill to the right.
I know these photos are yellowed and hard to see the details in them.
I had the following three pictures of Malone, Washington cleaned and blown up, so I'll share them here now. I like to keep these three hanging in my business in Elma Washington.
This photo of Malone Washington was a fly-over taken around 1920-1925. The original picture is so clear, I could zoom in well enough to see the type of vehicles parked at the hall/boarding building.
Here's really close look at Mumby Lumber and Shingle Company office and staff, Malone, ca. 1930
The church was still in its original luster for many years until renovated after the year 2000, which completely changed the exterior look entirely.
A devastating fire broke out at the mill in the late 30's and the mill owners were not able to afford to rebuild.
Ultimately, "each house sold to mill families for about one hundred dollars." From what I understand, Joseph Vance moved to Seattle area to start a different business venture. I haven't found anything to corroborate or discount that story.
Families of long past mill workers still visit the renovated church weekly.
You might notice that in this picture the church had not been built yet. I believe it was taken around 1910.
This was taken from the bluff on the south side, looking West toward Elma.
A close look at the trees growing around the homes in this picture are younger than the trees in a picture over at University of Washington Libraries Malone, ca. 1916 and the hall/boarding
building is there as well.
As you drive past Malone Washington, you get a sense of the mill and how the housing structures remain to this day.
The pictures of Elma Washington, Malone and others keep the local folks quizzing about different aspects of them.
It's fun to hear the stories when they are looking at them.
I believe in this photo you are looking at the main "powerhouse" of the mill.
This powerhouse is still standing to this day but, not in any kind of good shape, of course.
Just so you don't have to play "Where's Waldo," the powerhouse is the building where the smoke is coming out of the stacks.
Also in the smoke of this photo is the Malone schoolhouse. It looks like a house in this photo, but if you would like to see it a little closer, go here.
Somewhere I have a photo of the whole building but I wasn't able to locate it as yet. I'll post it when I do get a hold of it.
This school was located in Malone on Mox Chehalis Road about a quarter mile from the Highway 12 on the Elma Washington side.
Continuing on down the Mox Chehalis Road will bring you to McCleary Washington.
I will take you into McCleary Washington in a minute, but I have to detour down Highway 12 (State Route 12) to an old house I am sure you will want to see.
According to this news article By Dan Wheat (photos By Dick Milligan), In 1900, by James Edward Murrey moved to the Byles house which was the area known as Greenwood.
The Byles house also was known as the halfway house between Centralia and Aberdeen.
Travelers between the two cities used to stop there to rest and sometimes stay over night.
In 1904 James Murrey built the huge red barn across the street that is still standing.
I see it from Highway 12 each day behind the trees at the old Smiley Farm.
I am not sure exactly where the old Byles home stood or if it is still standing. I assume that it was where the old Victorian style house was built in 1906 by James Edward Murrey.
By the way, the name "Murrey" is not a misspell. "Murray" versus "Murrey" is a whole different story of explanation altogether for some other time.
Maybe you know about the "Murray" versus "Murrey" name. Share It Here!
James Murrey and his wife had seven girls and two boys according to the article. His first daughter was born in the parlor of the old house...
James was a wealthy pioneer logger. In 1912 he sold 335 acres of the Greenwood place to two Swiss brothers, and farmed the remaining 140 acres and served as county road supervisor until tragedy struck in 1924.
James was killed by dynamite while clearing some land by the Chehalis River. His son Lloyd Murrey inherited the farm but later sold the farm, moved to Elma and also went to work for the county road department.
The old house changed hands many time until Jesse Sarvinski bought it in 1943 and his son Barney Sarvinski bought it from his father in 1949.
This house, known as the Sarvinski House, once stood tall on the road side on State Route 12, at 4975 State Route 12, Elma, WA.
The beautiful piece of history has since been torn down and is the home of Schaben & Westling Inc which is a freight shipping and trucking company.
That's just across the highway from the Smiley Farm on North Blockhouse Road right where the big red barn still stands.
There's no news paper or date on these clippings. However it talks of the house being a landmark for some 72 years. Perhaps I jest that this article came out in the late 1970's.
If I am correct, It must have stood another 30 years or so made it to 100 years old home (boarded up for some 15 or more years).
That was a nice little detour I've been wanting to write about. There is a lot more to this story. but I just wanted to talk about the structures.
Okay, let's go back to the Mox Chehalis that's winding down into Mccleary Washington.
The Mox Chehalis Road actually continues all the way to the town of McCleary Washington, about eight miles or so. McCleary named after Henry McCleary who came to the area in the late 1890s.
You can see the Mox Chehalis Road coming into McCleary Washington at the top of this picture. The Mox Chehalis Road meets up with what is now Third Street ("S" curve at the top).
I believe the year this photo was taken was around 1935.
As Third Street drops vertically into McCleary, the street changes seamlessly to Summit Road at the junction of Simpson Avenue (horizontal main artery to the right).
Simpson Door plant takes up the rest of the lower area of the photo. What I find interesting, is the building in the middle of the road. Perhaps someone that knows will share a story so visitors here will know too.
The next two photos of McCleary Washington were encased side-by-side in a frame with an official plaque.
The first photo was an aerial fly over taken back in 1950. Unlike the previous fly-over of McCleary, WA looking South toward the Mox Chehalis Road, these next two are looking toward the Northeast side of Summit Road.
The pictures were given to a friend who retired from the Simpson Door Plant and he allowed me to snap a shot of them.
They were behind glass, so you may see glimpses of glare or reflections on these two pictures.
The next fly-over was taken in the year 2000.
Looking at the middle of the far right side of both, you can see the rounded top of the VFW Hall (white).
Here's a close up of the VFW Hall in McCleary Washington.
The McCleary VFW Hall is rented out to many various types of events including weddings, birthday parties, live bands and more.
I've been to several events here as well. This building is kept up quite well and holds a lot of history of McCleary.
Also in 1955, there were a lot of business renovations going on as you can see in this next photo.
The Lumbermens Mercantile, OK Lunch, and even the Richfield Gas Station with McCleary City Hall peeking out way back, down the street in the photo.
Here are three more businesses behind Lumbermens Mercantile.
The Olympic Cigar Tavern next to Billie's Cafe and further down is Davidson Drug Store.
If you know anything about them, Please say it here!
This next photo of Mark Reed Hospital was taken in 1955. I'm not sure it was completed or still under construction.
Since 1955, Mark Reed hospital served the community of McCleary Washington and surrounding areas of East Grays Harbor County for over 53 years.
Recently, 2013, Mark Reed Coordinators purchased the old county property where the Oakhurst Sanitorium once existed, then built the new Summit Pacific Medical Center, Level V Critical Access Hospital.
As I mentioned, Simpson Avenue continues on to Elma-McCleary Road toward Elma. About mid-way is the old logging town of Whites.
White Star, named after Allen White for building a sawmill there in 1890, that would later become the White Star Lumber Company. My dad worked there for a short time around 1950.
The White Star mill eventually became Elma Plywood (I worked there a short time when I was about 19) and later, I think around the late 1990s, the mill became Truss Joist, and even more recently is now Murphy Veneer.
I'm not sure yet if Truss Joist was part of Weyerhaeuser, but I know Weyerhaeuser had possession until it changed hands to the current company Murphy Veneer.
The Harbor was discovered by Captain Robert Gray in 1792.
Chehalis County organized in 1854, but was not permanently settled until 1859, while Aberdeen was settled in 1861 by Scotsmen with connections in Aberdeen Scotland.
Grays Harbor Fairground is also in Elma Washington. There's always something happening there throughout the year!
But, it wasn't always the Grays Harbor Fairground in Elma Washington, and here's why...
The new Elma Washington Fair was just beginning around mid 1880's as a small attraction mostly in the form of street parades and festivals like the Strawberry Festival.
Excerpt from the Elma Chronicle in the mid 1900's
"The first Chehalis county fair was held in Aberdeen in 1911 and was headed by S. K. Bowes of Aberdeen and J. E. Calder of Montesano. While it was a great success its first year, the facilities and location did not seem to be adequate for such a venture so in 1913 several East County citizens formed a fair association with Earle France of Elma as president.
They hired C. H. Palmer, then owner and operator of the Elma Telephone company as secretary-manager, purchased the equipment of the defunct Aberdeen association and moved it to a plot of ground leased from the George Simpson farm in the lowlands just south of Elma.
This is now the location of the Ed Spalding farm. An interesting sidelight to this development is the fact that the first silo ever to be constructed in this county was set up on the fair grounds.
In 1919 Grays Harbor county commissioners purchased the present grounds north of Elma and in 1920 the first Grays Harbor County Fair association was formed. This association did take over the operation of the fair in 1920, but continued to use the old site, as the new location was not completed on account of lack of funds.
During the 1920s the fairgrounds became a Mecca for horse trainers throughout the state. It not only had a reputation for one of the fastest tracks in the Northwest but also was an ideal training track, as the dirt-over-gravel construction remained springy and easy on the horses' feet in all weather.
A really big year was 1924. A record crowd of more than 15,000 passed through the gates on the last day.
In 1929, fair attendance dwindled until 1931 the fair association decided to call it quits and the county fair, as operated under the County commissioners, became a memory, not to be revived until some 18 years later.
On Labor Day weekend, 1945, the sleepy old grounds awoke with a roar as the cry of "Let's Rodeo" was heard in every corner of the county. This year began the Whoop-de-do of Big Time Rodeo for Grays Harbor. Under the auspices of the Elma Horsemen and Racing association with Karl Karshner as president, the first of four annual rodeos was instituted. After several years of small community fairs the 4-H clubs fair once again returned to the fairgrounds.
The annual Jersey Saddle club show was also held at this time and the combination of these three events drew record crowds as Grays Harbor went Western in a big way. The Grays Harbor County Fair association was reincorporated in 1949, and in 1952, after three successful years, the Grays Harbor Fair was designated as a district fair having become one of the largest and best fairs in the entire state.
This raised the fair to a class A-status and included Jefferson, Clallam, Mason and Kitsap counties. This designation proved as nothing else could, that the fair does occupy a vital place in the community."
I wonder sometimes if the war played a role in the fair association to call it quits for the 18 year stretch.
Some of the businesses around the area must have been economically affected by this.
Coys Place Service Station was around at this time.
Thanks to Brent and Sheryl Hooto, we can actually see the gas station that was once across the street from the Grays Harbor County Fair Grounds.
Sharing what they know about the History of Elma Washington is what this article is all about.
I was not aware of a gas station in that area. Before my time for sure.
A huge THANKS to the Hooton Family!
The Fairgrounds had been going through somewhat of a lull from around 1927 until 1945 due to dwindling crowds.
I'm not sure which year it was taken down but the home is still there according to the family.
Would you like to help Coy's great grandson find out more about the History of this place?
Click on the picture to read, view , or write more about Coy's Place during the 1940's.
Another such place, is that I recall an old rode side tavern which burnt down (late 1960's).
It was around the fairgrounds area across the street as well if I remember correctly.
Eventually the tavern burnt down, from what I understand.
If old photos could talk.
Once a gas station, always a gas station!
Signal Service Station was owned and operated by Harmer Dotson.
This Service station was located just outside Elma Washington on the East end of town.
It's what we now know as 800 E. Main Street.
The property is now (2013), Toads Deli & Truck Stop fueling, and Guest House Inn & Suites. Find it here at Hotels in Elma.
Unfortunately you won't get this kind of service anymore. At least not here.
The ironic thing , is that the full service we knew back then was eliminated and eventually became "self serve" fueling. Perhaps "to save the customer money."
We all know how that's working nowadays.
This photo must be in the early 1950's with the age of Sci-Fi Culture under way.
I wonder if the 1950, 1951 Studebaker "Bullet Nose" Commander in this photo was owned by Harmer Dotson. Maybe the new car showed up and Harmer simply wanted to snap the picture of it.
Correction made February 3, 2014 viewer found my error. "1950, 1951 Studebaker "Bullet Nose" Commander" as noted, should read "1950 Ford." And I thought I new my cars :-p
So this vehicle is not a Studebaker, but it still amazes me that the fuel mileage for the Studebaker vehicles at the time were an easy 28-30 miles per gallon. Even in the V-8's. now I wonder just how the 1950 ford matches up.
All without emission controls. Sure can't get that for the going prices now days. I digress.
The good old days don't stop here.
I have not even touched on Oakville, Satsop, Brady or Montesano Washington.
There are some forgotten towns like Garden City on the Elma-McCleary Road.
Several others, as well like Grisdale, Melbourne, Deckerville, Cedarville, Gibson Creek, and Satsop that I would love to eventually share.
If you would like to tell about any of these areas, feel free to share your thought and photos.
Frustrated? if you don't know how to get your pictures to a file and upload them to this page? Let me know, I will help you.
It's really easy!
So tell us..., what are
Have a great historical treasure in Elma Washington or East Grays Harbor County? Share it!
Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...
Vance Lumber in Malone
All the accounts I can find suggest that Vance sold out to Mason County Logging Company (Tom & Joe Bordeaux) in 1924. But I have been through the entire …
Just found this,love the photos and history and left you a medsage about Hunters Prairie.I grew up next to Hi and Veva Moncere in the little yellow house …
Brick Oven Near Malone
On our property at the end of Malone Hill Branch Road is the ruin of a large brick oven for baking bread. I am told it used to serve the neighborhood …
Luther Byles, Elma Pioneer, Recalls 80 Years on Harbor
The following article is transcribed from an article in the Aberdeen Daily World as written by my aunt, Margaret Swisher in 1943. Karl Davidson: ELMA, …
Elma Fairgrounds was an Army base
One of the least known or remembered aspects about the Grays Harbor County Fairgrounds is that, for several years during World War II, it was a base for …
Coy's Place Service Station
My great-grandfather, Coy Badgley, owned a service station in Elma called Coy's Place. I would be very interested to know if anyone knows where this was …
Coy's Place Service Station
My great-grandfather, Coy Badgley, owned a service station in Elma called Coy's Place. I would be very interested to know if anyone knows where this was …
D. F. Byles House
My wife and I bought the David F. Byles house on A/Young St. last June and have been feverishly trying to restore it. David Byles was the brother of Charles …
Porter Church Not rated yet
I'm pretty sure my grandfather, Rev. John P Bush, was a pastor to that church in Porter. I don't know if it is the exact one mentioned but really how …
Elma Hotel 3rd and Young Not rated yet
The Elma hotel burned when I was about 6 yrs. old. That would be 1937. It burned at night and I could see the flames from where we were living.
Grace Community Church west Main Street Elma, WA Not rated yet
Grace Community Church 1930's. There was a beautiful Chestnut tree next to the church. The church is on the Corner of West Main Street.
Remembering the early Rodeos and Harness Races Not rated yet
Having spent my childhood years at my grandmother's home bordering the Grays Harbor County Fairgrounds, many of my best memories are of the fun days spent …
Associated oil station at 3rd and main Not rated yet
In around 1945 My father purchased the station. What I remember is the pumps were toward 3rd street then. The town marshal was Jim Foley, and He had a …
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Come Visit Elma Washington
So, what's there to do in Elma Washington?
It's amazing how many times I'm asked that question.
That's why I built this page.
So you can take a tour of Elma WA and East Grays Harbor County without wrestling the crowd!
The surrounding areas of East Grays Harbor County have a lot of outdoor activities to offer.
Just be sure you are done with chocolate candy making, and be ready to get dirty!
Take a look at where the "World of Outlaws" Sprint Car Racing & Pacific Northwest Jamboree crank out heart-pounding speeds at Grays Harbor Raceway in Elma Washington!
Take a look at what the Grays Harbor County Fairgrounds in Elma Washington has to offer! (Opens in a new window)
You'll find a ton of fun things to do, like seeing the Antique Farm Engine & Tractor Pulls along with 4-H/FFA, Talent Show and a whole lot more.
Hiking, Fishing, Biking, Riding Horses, Camping, Swimming
Black & White Version Or
This is a handy little printable map of Capitol Forest.
It will come in handy on the trail.
Don't get lost out there!
This book covers everything - hygiene on the trail, first aid all the way to how to survive if you can't find your way
Take a compass and a GPS. They'll work hand in hand.
Things can happen on the trails.
Just be prepared if you are going to hike
Detail map of Washington State
Detail map of Washington State
Just in case you need to map Washington State to find us in Elma.
Get "down & dirty dirt track riding, mud bogging, quad racing and more right here in Elma Washington...,
Grays Harbor College is may not be in East Grays Harbor County, but it serve it. And, I'm alumni, just like John Madden!
That's right. The very same college John Madden played football at in 1956 (The Seattle Times) There's a bit of history all on its own in Aberdeen Washington.
Grays Harbor College dates back to the 1930s, GHC over looks Alder Creek and the manmade Lake Swano (1948 by Mr. Swano Katalinich), that started out as a bermed reservoir in Alder Creek, in order to build a road.
Grays Harbor Community College serves Grays Harbor, and Pacific Counties.
Learn more about Grays Harbor College here
Don't forget. If you are going to visit Grays Harbor Washington, you need to get to the Grays Harbor Chamber of Commerce right now to get the best service for the Grays Harbor area.
Grays Harbor Chamber of Commerce resides in Aberdeen Washington.
Aberdeen commerce began around 1861 when Scotsmen created a packing plant partially backed by investors out of Aberdeen Scotland.
Grays Harbor Chamber of Commerce has economically improved Grays Harbor County since 1892.
Find out more over at Grays Harbor Chamber of Commerce
Looking for Festivals, Events, or what's happening in Elma WA?
Look no further, it's all right here.
Here's some of the contributions I've made to the Community of Elma WA.
These book cover are actually a progression of the history of Elma Washington that I put together over the years.
Are you looking for the updated version?
You are reading it here at Chocolates-Made-Easy.com updated June 2013!
The printed versions are costly to make. That's why I made this page for you to enjoy.
The old versions can be found at Elma Timberland Library
There are tons of events the Elma Timberland Library puts on.
It doesn't matter where you are in Grays Harbor County.
Elma Timberland Library Events are all over the County!
You might know Satsop Washington for its unfinished nuclear power plant. Its short life span began around 1977 and construction stopped in 1983.
But that didn't stop economic growth for Grays Harbor county in Washington State.
A dark cloud for economic growth reigned over the 1,700-acre site for many years, halting any favored business concept, even after the planned demolition (even that didn't work) in 1995.
Enter the Satsop Development Park. For the next ten years, the park would gain economic momentum earning a Satsop Business Park rapport with the business and technology world.
Find out more over at the Satsop Business Park